- Title: "Head Games: Football's Concussion Crisis"
- Author: Christopher Nowinski
- Finished: November 4, 2009
- Synopsis: This book is a mixture of many things: autobiography, lessons learned, advocacy, etc. Nowinski tells the story of his battle with multiple concussions and warns football players, families, and coaches of the danger of not taking concussions seriously.
- Impression of the book: I was impressed with Nowinski (Harvard football player turned professional wrestler) and his ability to tell a really sad story that continues to wreak havoc in his life. I closed the book feeling both sad for him and fortunate that I walked away from football mostly unscathed.
- Read Again Scale: 6
- I was suckered by the display at the Fayetteville Public Library. This is one time that I am not sorry about it.
- Read Another Book by the Same Author: 5
- A definite maybe on this score. I think it would entirely depend on the subject.
This book caused me a lot of consternation, but it also confirmed a lot of my beliefs about youth football. I am one that believes that tackle football at ages less than middle school/junior high is counterproductive. First, there is such a great disparity in body size at young ages that there is an inherent problem of the smaller players quitting (or never starting) because of the size mismatch with larger kids. Second, there is nothing that is taught or learned at those young ages that is neglected in higher levels of football. Finally and probably most importantly, the coaches of these Pop Warner or Pee Wee leagues don't have the training to recognize the signs of head injury. For that matter, neither do some high school or college coaches if we are to believer the reports from Texas Tech last season.
I think that every youth, junior high, and high school football coach should read this book. I think that coaches care about their players. Living with the fact that they could have prevented an injury (or death) of a player would be extremely difficult. I also recommend this book to anyone involved with high school athletics. Finally, I would recommend that high school coaches associations around the country bring in neurologists or other doctors to train/inform coaches on the dangers of head injuries for adolescents. Emphasizing the dangers might reign back some of the cavalier attitude toward head injuries that can be seen on almost any Friday night during football season.